6 Things to See in Kingston, Jamaica

Kingston. Jamaica’s dream city.

As I said before, crime is all right in Kingston. At one time it was even at the top of the rankings. Along with Mogadishu and Port Moresby. Now, according to a popular Jamaican rumor, the matter has been cleaned up a bit. That is to say, today you don’t just get shot in the street for nothing. That’s the way it used to be. Today you will be asked your name and politely asked to repent before the action. This is a great achievement of local law enforcement.

Meanwhile, our travelers disembark on the land of hospitable Kingston. Right next to the central police headquarters. The waterfront. Ocean Boulevard. That’s, like, the address. Mid-afternoon. Downtown. The streets are deserted, like an air-raid alert. Only the wind blows fiercely from the sea, and cormorants fly over the bay in search of food. A lone barge churns in the bay, and behind it is a view of the spit where the heroic and infamous Port Royale once stood. The old men look around. On the city’s green lawn, they are watched by several very homeless-looking negroes. It’s hard to tell what’s on their minds. They were either begging or sharpening penknives. You can’t tell. But goosebumps ran down my back, and a cold sweat broke out. It was uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable.

Back in the seventies, just after the country gained its independence, it was the center of the business and cultural part of the city. At that time, a few multi-story buildings were built on the boulevard. About three of them. Or four. Seven stories. That’s how they’re standing now. It’s not a load of crap! The tallest buildings in the city in the whole neighborhood. Now they’re occupied by banks. And in the farthest one is the police headquarters. The rest of the buildings are typically colonial. Small, light-colored, one- or two-story houses. Streets tangled in a network of wires and locals loitering about. The whole neighborhood adjacent to the sea is called Down Town. Not because it’s populated by Down-towners, no. It’s because it’s in the lowlands. And the rest of the city is on a slope uphill. Although I didn’t see much mountainous terrain in the location of old Kingston.

Not taking into account the “new buildings” of the time of independence, the whole city has kept the appearance of the early twentieth century. It was then, after the 1907 earthquake, that the seeds of what we see today were planted. Architecturally, of course. In particular I’d like to mention the classical monumental sculpture that adorns the embankment. A monument, so to speak, to freedom, equality and fraternity. And it’s called “The Rising Negro”. It was made in 1937. It’s a bronze shapeless balberg, where you can hardly make out a person. But if you understand that the man is depicted there, it is immediately clear that he is of Negro race. Because of the elongated lower jaw. The old man looked at the incomprehensible work for a long time. He looked at it from one side and then from the other. And then he came to a verdict:

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– I don’t know about the Negro, but it certainly looks like a Pithecanthrope…

At home, a couple of weeks later, out of sheer interest, I decided to find out all about this great artwork. It is clear that I found nothing worthwhile in the Russian versions. I had to crawl around on foreign-language web pages. I found something similar. I pressed the “translate” button and lo and behold… The name of the song was translated as “Horny Moor”! Clearly, there’s some machine translation confusion. But how precise! That’s exactly what this nigger is.

Since we started talking about Jamaican art, then you should definitely visit the national art gallery. Fortunately, it’s right there. Right around the corner. Opposite the same police station. There used to be a cool shopping mall in the building where the gallery is now. The retail and catering establishment itself was originally built. And even thrived at first. But then times got tough, the Down Town neighborhood got too crime-ridden, and people with money got the hell out of there fast. No customers, no income. The supermarket quietly and sadly went bankrupt. The building was taken over by the state for its debts. It was empty for a while, but then they decided to open an art center in it.

An entrance ticket costs 400 Jamaican dollars. As much as 120 rubles in today’s money. But paying the dough, that’s not all. The most important thing is their decoration. It would seem that what is so difficult? Here’s the money, get the ticket and go enjoy the art. But it wasn’t. The ticketing process lasted about ten minutes. Do you think there was a line? Except for our tourists there was no one in the whole area, including about three hundred meters of the street. You just have to enter the money, then put it in the cash register. Write a receipt for it. And how, everything is strictly accountable. Then take the tickets, numbered tickets, of course. Call the boss on the phone, summon him to the entrance. Give him the paper to sign. The official read the paper for five minutes, then signed it with a ministerial stroke. But that was not all. The next step was an instruction:

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– Don’t touch anything with your hands. It was forbidden to take pictures and in general not to do anything…

Then we were waiting for the guards. By all means every visitor had to be watched.

– What if those whites stole anything! They always did nothing but harm. – It was these thoughts that the Old Man read on the face of the grim black man in shoulder straps who followed him.

You, dear readers, must be thinking:

– If everything is so secret and there are so many guards, it means there is something to guard.

Don’t get your hopes up. It looks nothing like the Louvre or the Hermitage. Not only that, our Old Man will tell you that the ethnographic museum of Gadiukino Village is richer in interesting exhibits than the National Jamaican Art Gallery. The main part of the exposition consists of incomprehensible installations by masters of ultra-modern art. For example, a whole room is occupied by a web of wires and strings, on which are dangling various trinkets, bells and other crap. Oh! This composition represents our little world, tangled in the web of imperialism and its henchman the Internet… Stupid mare’s nonsense!

Let’s move on. Behind the museum glass is a radical red human-sized pyramid, made of purely female organs. Yes, yes, the ones with the lips in a bow. No, the Jamaicans are definitely horny people.

The only other thing that was even remotely possible to look at were the landscapes that were painted by local artists a couple of centuries ago. And the history of these drawings is as follows. As you know, many plantations on the island were owned by noble nobles of English descent. Often, they never once visited the island. They only received reports from the managers and remittances. But they wondered what their property looked like. What the homestead and, in fact, the fields themselves looked like. Photography hadn’t been invented yet back then. What to do? And then the farm manager hired an artist who painted the landscape of the estate from life. This picture was sent to the owners in the metropolis, as proof of successful business. These are similar sketches from life and are presented here in a more or less decent version. It is clear that there were no Repins and Aivazovskys on the island. Those pictures were made by self-taught artists. So the crowning conclusion that the old man made from this room:

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The 10 best things to see and do in Kingston, Jamaica

The top 10 things to see and do in Kingston, Jamaica

The 10 best things to see and do in Kingston, Jamaica

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Home to half of Jamaica’s 2.7 million people, Kingston is a growing metropolis surrounded by mountains to the north and a coastline to the south. Like any major city, its environs oscillate between socioeconomic extremes, and while some neighborhoods have earned a reputation for violence, Kingston is worth a visit. While you’re there, you’ll notice that the sometimes challenging environment is still a source of inspiration for many Jamaican artists, musicians, writers, and athletes.


Devon House.

The Devon House Hotel, built in 1881, remains one of Kingston’s greatest landmarks and historic heritage sites. It is a representation of Jamaica’s rich cultural diversity with its Georgian Jamaican architecture, typical of the plantation houses built by British colonists at the height of the slave trade. The house is decorated with 19th-century furniture, recreating a view of the past. Tours of both the house and the property are available, on which you will learn more about the history of the house and what it represents for Jamaicans today. There are many stores, restaurants and cafes on the estate.

Devon House, 26 Hope Road, Kingston-10, Kingston, Jamaica, +1 (876) 929-7029


National Gallery of Jamaica

The National Gallery of Jamaica is the largest and oldest public art gallery in the English-speaking Caribbean. Since 1974, it has been showcasing contemporary, modern and early art from Jamaica, the Caribbean and other countries in the surrounding regions. With five permanent galleries, you can see everything from pre-Columbian art created by the island’s indigenous communities to some of Jamaica’s most famous artists, such as Edna Manley and Mallika “Kapo” Reynolds. The gallery also has several temporary exhibitions each year.

National Gallery of Jamaica, 12 Ocean Boulevard, Block C, Kingston, Jamaica +1 (876) 922-1561

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Lime K.

Although Jamaica is surrounded by some of the warmest, bluest waters in the Caribbean, Jamaicans don’t get to the beach as often as you might imagine. Beach days are usually reserved for weekends, and for some Kingston residents, that means taking a “canoe” or ferry to Lime Cay. The small cay is located just off the mainland coast, not far from Norman-Manley International Airport. Hired boats move visitors to and from either Morgan Harbor or Y-Knot. We recommend taking your own food, water and supplies as there are no vendors on the map. With a beautiful white sand beach and calm surrounding water, this is the perfect escape for those looking for a break from the city.

Lime Cay, catch a ferry to Morgan Harbor or Y-Knot, Port Royal, Kingston, Jamaica


Bar Tour.

Jamaica is one of the rum capitals of the world, and Kingston is one of the best places to explore the bar scene in the country. Our list of the top ten bars in town is a great place to start your night. Meet a few friendly locals for more information on the latest happenings in town, as special parties tend to be seasonal in Jamaica.


Hiking in the Blue Mountains.

The Blue Mountains loom over the northern parts of Kingston, shading the region from the harsh Caribbean sun. Blue Mountain National Park is the perfect escape for those hoping to enjoy a bit of desert and unspoiled beauty while visiting Jamaica. The hike to the peak can take anywhere from four to eight hours, depending on where you start and your experience. On clear days, the southern coast of Cuba can be seen from above. If you’re looking for something less challenging, head to Hollywell National Park for an outdoor picnic.


Resort Day at Strawberry Hill

Strawberry Hill is a hotel and estate nestled in the rolling hills of the lush Blue Ridge Mountains. The main house and surrounding cottages are typical Jamaican colonial homes with simple wooden antique furnishings. It’s the perfect mountain escape for those who hope they don’t have to compromise luxury for the wilderness. Along with luxury accommodations, the hotel also has an incredible spa open to those looking for R & R. They provide a wide range of services, but we recommend a visit to one of their massages. Treat yourself to their coconut hydro-scrub massage – it’s pure decadence for body and mind.

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Bob Marley Museum.

Jamaicans often say their biggest export is reggae music, and the genre would be nothing without Bob Marley. As a cultural hero in many ways, he remains one of Jamaica’s most honorable and influential people. The museum is located in the musician’s old home. Still owned by his family, it showcases his incredible life from humble beginnings in one of Jamaica’s poorest communities to worldwide recognition for his contributions to music and society. He is considered by many to be a national hero for elevating Jamaican culture and people on the world stage.

Bob Marley Museum, 56 Hope Road, Kingston 6, Jamaica, +1 (876) 630-1LUV



The nightlife in Kingston seems endless, and there is always a party, a “party” or a “session.” Major parties and events tend to be seasonal, so the best way to find out what’s going on is to talk to a few locals. Perhaps the best time of year to visit Kingston is between February and April, when Carnival celebrations are in full swing. There is a party every week where patrons dance, sing and chant to soca, dancehall and reggae music. Carnival season ends with the island’s biggest party of the year, where people take to the streets to celebrate in the brightest, most elaborate and revealing costumes you’ve ever seen.


Attend a sports game

Jamaicans love sports, especially soccer, cricket and track and field. With local athletes dominating internationally in all of these disciplines, it’s no surprise that some offices have been known to close early so their employees can watch the main games or meets. At any sporting event in Jamaica, there will be the liveliest and most exciting fans you’ve ever seen-it will be a party, no matter who wins. The national soccer team, called the Reggae Boys, plays home games at the National Stadium, and the national cricket team, Jamaica Tallawahs, usually plays at Sabine Park.


Tourist Port Royal.

Once known as “the meanest town in the world,” Port Royal is famous for being the pirate and shipping capital of the Caribbean in the 17th and 18th centuries. Famous robbers such as Captain Henry Morgan, Blackbeard and Calico Jack repeatedly visited the city, seeking refuge from law enforcement and gathering material for upcoming trips. In 1692, half the city sank after a devastating earthquake, but remnants of pirates, admirals and battles still remain in the architecture and rusty canons that continue to follow Fort Charles.

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